We had a witness which was our daughter who is the other minor that was involved in the incident. She testified that our dog did not go near this girl and we still were given a guilty plea. At the time of the incident we had another puppy who was hyper and jumping on the girl and she is accusing the wrong dog for this. We don't know what to do and was told to appeal the verdict before putting are dog down as we can not afford to keep him with the dangerous dog law. The girl stated that my dog came outside and bit her and it was proven that they were in my home when this happened and my daughter still states that my dog did not do this that he was not by the girl when this happened and the verdict was still guilty against us.
1) You must appeal the verdict while you still have time. You will have no leverage so to speak if you let the time elapse. You can get advice from a lawyer on how to do this but this aspect is fairly basic. However, do not wait, do it today. Then you will have a little time. 2) Hire a lawyer to negotiate a plea (at minimum) with the government agency that prosecuted the case. They may be willing. You say "guilty" so this sounds like a criminal matter, not one where you're getting sued (which is what the homeowners insurance comments are all about). The appeal is your leverage to negotiate a plea to a lesser offense so the dog need not be killed, needlessly and wrongfully. 3) Get the hospital records from the "victim" via a subpoena (lawyer may need to do)-- maybe she said she was pulling the dog's tail or that it was a puppy, thus proof she has the wrong dog. I am active in RAPP animal rescue, could never let my dog let alone the "wrong" dog be killed. Save your dog. Appealing is first step.
Sad story. If the issue is the bite and any potential lawsuit, your homeowner's insurance normally will provide a defense, unless there is a specific exclusion. Contact your broker. If you are concerned about having to put the dog down, you will have shell out for a lawyer to defend the case, or you could do it yourself. If there are charges against the dog and you, then you are going to have to decide if it is worth the money.
Call your homeowner's insurance company. They will provide a defense to any personal injury case that is filed. You should speak to a lawyer in your area about appealing the dangerous dog adjudication. You may be able to get a free consultation about the appeal but you will have to pay the lawyer to handle the appeal. If the victim of the bite has a wound, it seems she was probably bitten by at least one of your dogs. If all the witnesses testified, it must have come down to credibility of each of the witnesses and the judge must have believed the victim. This could be the case if your daughter did not actually see the victim being attacked but assumed it might have been the other dog. In any case, it sounds like one or the other of your dogs is the perpetrator from your description. It is a very difficult situation for many reasons. Call your homeowner's insurance company or your agent and report this immediately. Do not give any further statements to anyone about the incident without the your insurance adjuster's blessings.
If the accusing girl claims that she was bitten, was there any evidence of a bite? Was there any injury? If so what from? You should definitely appeal the verdict if there was no evidence except a little girl saying that it happened. If you appeal, you can offer to take extra measure to keep your animals on a leash and under control and verify your fencing is sufficient. You can also purchase "dangerous dog" insurance relatively inexpensively. You can try contacting The Lexus Project -they provide pro bono legal work to prevent dogs from being killed under these circumstances. You may want to contact them. http://thelexusproject.org/contactus.php There are many attorneys who do pro bono work for animals, so don't give up on your dog. There are people who will help.
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